Rich Shakespeare Leominster Walking Football Club goalkeeper

Interview: 61 and Still Kicking

Walking football continues to grow and offers participants a unique way of getting their boots on.

Following on from our recent interviews with referee Attila Moldovan and County League striker Josh Carpenter, we recently sat down to speak to a participant from the rapidly growing format of the game; walking football.

Walking football is an increasingly popular format of football which is perfect for older players or those with health/mobility problems. It can be the perfect way to get back into football, but is also an ideal introduction for those who might not have played before. The rules are essentially the same as traditional football with a few changes, the key law being that running is not permitted. As a result the game relies on accurate passing, good positional play and teamwork. Walking football is very adaptable and suitable for both male and female players regardless of ability or age.

To find out why walking football is so popular, we wanted to hear straight from the horses mouth so we spoke to one of our current players; Richard Shakespeare. Rich is a regular at our Leominster Walking Football Club sessions which run every Tuesday 6-7pm at Bridge Street Sports Centre.

Hi Rich, thanks for taking part - first up how long have you been playing walking football?

I have been playing walking football on a regular basis for the past two years. I'm now 61 years old.

Brilliant, where did you first here about the sport and how did you first get involved?

I was six years post stroke when I discovered this version of the beautiful game; I was on the mend but needed to up my exercise. Walking football was suggested by a health rehabilitation advisor and to be honest, my expectations were not very high at that point. My first session was free and I was welcomed with open arms by a bunch of like minded ex-footballers (and non-footballers!) who had discovered this growing gem of a game.

What difference has walking football made to you?

Initially I found aches and pains from muscles I hadn't used in thirty years! After a few weeks these aches and pains vanished and I began to feel fitter in both mind and body with the added bonus of a positive attitude. Plus I had a whole bunch of new friends who I look forward to seeing each week. This has grown into a whole global community where I can feel welcome to join any session worldwide.

What have been the highlights of your time playing walking football?

My health has improved, I've lost weight, played in competititions both locally and overseas [a joint Leominster and Ross team travelled to Portugal to compete in a tournament last season], and been selected for the county - something I never managed in my playing days. I look forward to every session whatever the weather. Also, with one of my teammates from Leominster we now assist in the training of our local ladies walking football team - there is a lot of satisfaction from this too.

What would you say to someone considering giving it a go?

Our wonderful County FA staff [this is in Richard's words not ours!] have been fully supportive of teams within their remit. Every effort is made to open this version of the game to all who wish to get involved regardless of ability, mobility, fitness or experience.

If you miss the game you once loved to play, or have never played but are looking for a new way to get in shape, then give walking football a go. Most players are hooked after the very first session. The skill level grows with you as your old timing and instincts resurface. As you can tell; by now I am completely sold on the concept! If you are unsure, just come and try a free session at one of the local clubs and give it a go!


Thanks to Rich for giving up his time to answer our questions about walking football; we couldn't have put it better ourselves! No matter what your age, experience or gender, turning up to a walking football could be the best decision you make this year! Get your boots on and kick-start your 2020 by joining a walking football club. For information on your nearest session please click the button below and we will send you all the information you need.

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